The Waif says to Arya:

"You, who walk in here with a coin you never earned, whose value you do not respect. Who are you?"

Was the usual method of being awarded a coin discussed in the books at any point? I don't recall. To me, it seems that she is questioning Jaqen's decision to do so, which does not seem her place. I thought Arya, for one so young especially, showed extraordinary resilience and resourcefulness/cleverness and that is what earned it for her. Is there usually a more rigid system for the distribution of these coins?

  • the title is "Why does the Waif believe Arya did not earn her coin?", but ou also have another question - "Is there usually a more rigid system for the distribution of these coins", it's confusing
    – Schullz
    Jun 15, 2016 at 16:26
  • The second question seems to directly relate to the first. I think the OP is asking for details should the answer be "they have a system for giving out coins, usually." Jun 15, 2016 at 16:44
  • 1
    @Schullz I'd say it's about as linear of a follow-up as you can get.
    – coburne
    Jun 15, 2016 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


We Don't Know

A formal process has not been shown as to how the coins are "earned". Ayra is the only one we see given this coin as well, so our sample size is not that great.

From the show's perspective, the character known as "Waif" has been antagonizing Ayra since her arrival. To me this a "Good Cop, Bad Cop" situation where Waif is bad cop to Jaqen's good cop. Waif is saying things that may be deliberately untrue to solicit a certain response from Ayra.

  • It is never clearly stated, but in the book got Dany remembers some head piece of her mom with a coin on it which was said to be tremendously more valuable as it appeared. I think the head piece included a house of the Black and white coin. If im correct this is the only other such coin ever mentioned. Jun 16, 2016 at 22:13

The waif is quite a bit different in the books. She never really acts in an antagonistic manner towards Arya. So this really never comes up there. In the book there really aren't any rules mentioned about the coin. I actually don't recall her ownership of the coin having much to do with her being allowed into the house of black and white. The coin is, however, strongly tied to the house of black and white in Braavosi culture and is inferred to be very intimidating to whoever it is presented to. In the book Arya is meant to kill an insurer and simply sneaks him the coin whereupon his noticing it he immediately has a heart attack. She also attempts to buy passage to Braavos with the coin but the captain refuses to accept it but still provides her passage out of fear due to its association with the house of black and white.

In the book she shows up at the temple and they just sort of put her to work doing chores and cleaning up dead bodies until they just sort of accept her.

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    I don't have the books right now to make sure but I don't think the killing of the insurer happens the way you say it does. I think it's implied that she coated a regular coin in poison, so that when the insurer bites it to make sure it's gold he gets poisoned and die; see scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/39486/…
    – Arnaud D.
    Jun 15, 2016 at 17:19
  • Agreed, I also never saw the Waif as antagonistic. Strict in trying to teach Arya, but I always got the feeling that this was pretty standard, and everybody went through it because it was necessary.
    – Broklynite
    Jun 15, 2016 at 17:45
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    Yes, the part about how she kills the insurer is wrong. She gives him a normal coin coated in poison like Arnaud D. says.
    – Ghostship
    Jun 15, 2016 at 20:37

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